ITC Trade Mission Empowers Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

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From June 18 to 21, the International Trade Centre (ITC) is orchestrating a pivotal trade mission in Nairobi, Kenya, in conjunction with the Absa InspireMe Conference.

This initiative aims to forge new business connections and foster economic opportunities for women-led enterprises across Africa and the United Kingdom (UK).

Part of the ITC SheTrades Commonwealth+ Programme, funded by the UK Government, the event is hosted in collaboration with Absa Bank Kenya, home to the SheTrades Kenya Hub. It brings together a diverse delegation including 10 UK-based buyers, three chamber of commerce representatives, and 17 corporate leaders from Africa. Additionally, 65 women entrepreneurs from SheTrades Hubs in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, the Gambia, and South Africa are participating.

The Absa InspireMe Conference kicked off with a welcome message from Kenya’s First Lady, H.E. Mrs. Rachel Ruto, and Mr. Abdi Mohamed, Managing Director and Chief Executive Director of Absa Bank Kenya. The conference featured panel sessions focusing on critical topics for women’s entrepreneurship and export development, such as accessing finance, digital marketplace strategies, and leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Jamal Hussain, UK Regional Trade Advisor for East Africa, delivered insights on export opportunities under the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme and Economic Partnership Agreements.

Parallel to the conference, women-led businesses in sectors like agrifood, textiles, apparel, handicrafts, and accessories engaged in one-to-one business meetings with potential UK and African buyers. Representatives from SheTrades Hubs explored collaboration prospects with delegates from Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber International, and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The trade mission concludes with sector-specific visits to Kenyan companies, allowing participants to explore firsthand business opportunities and forge lasting connections.

Absa Bank Kenya’s Managing Director, Abdi Mohamed, expressed enthusiasm about the event, emphasizing Absa’s commitment to facilitating global access and providing valuable insights to customers. ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton underscored the mission’s impact in empowering women entrepreneurs in trade.

Dr. Nasir Awan, President of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, highlighted the significance of this gathering for strengthening UK-Africa business relations.

This initiative by ITC signifies a pivotal step towards enhancing economic ties and empowering women entrepreneurs across continents.

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